PEGBRJE: Sanguine Sanctum and Lingotopia
Of Worlds and Words.
Sanguine Sanctum is a narrative surreal horror experience made by Modus Interactive, a solo dev who specializes in fear through the bizarre and confusing. Players are placed in a chamber of sorts, unsure of who they are or what they are to do, with only one directive; offer something to the pool. Currently, they have nothing to offer, but there are doors to different worlds at the base of the pool. Perhaps they have something to offer to the red? Only one way to find out.
Each door the protagonist enters is a terrifying visage of another world, full of different and bizarre set pieces and objects with players uncertain of what they are looking for. There’s dissonance all around, each world featuring a sense of unease thanks to the uncomfortable sound effects and confusing imagery. Once players figure out the puzzle of each world, they are rewarded with a red polyhedron that pulses in time with a heartbeat — an offering to the sanguine pool. Collect the four, one from each door, and realize that it is not enough; it’s never enough.
What stands out the most about Sanguine Sanctum is its atmospheric horror while completely avoiding the need for jump scares. Sure, there are instances of soundbites being louder than I anticipated, but for somebody as jumpy as I am I was pleasantly surprised at how rarely I jolted. Instead I was filled with feelings of complete unease and dread that filled my time within, watching as my actions influenced the worlds that I invaded. My actions were never positive, either; I destroyed objects, sacrificed innocents, and killed that which I did not understand. All in the hopes of acquiring a bloody offering for my blood god. Except, was the pool a blood god? What was my goal? Why was I feeding this pool, doing as it said? Did I have any choice?
Was I the bad guy here?
Sanguine Sanctum is a lot of what many may believe a fanatical cult to appear as; unfeeling in their mission to acquire what they need, and not worried about the sacrifices they may need to make personally. We as the player never get to emote, nor do we react; we only give to the pool that which we can. Bring offerings to the sanctum, and offer more than you have available. If you are looking for an unsettling hour of spooky world exploration, Sanguine Sanctum is the title to look into.
Lingotopia is an educational exploration game made by Tristan Dahl, a solo developer out of Germany. In this title, players are a hooded figure that has washed ashore on an inhabited island, complete with a city full of life, love and people. The only problem? Nobody speaks the same language as you do. The only person that can assist is a pink girl who doubles as a guide, who will call out whatever players click on by its word in her native tongue and guide players throughout the city. Their only hope is to learn the language and understand what the locals are saying, and perhaps find a way off of the island safely.
At the beginning of the game, players will choose their native tongue and language they wish to learn, between the officially supported languages and the community supported ones. Only difference between the two is that official support is fully voiced from native speakers to assist. Players then follow their guide around to different individuals within the city who will talk to them about anything that may be on their minds, from city information to their personal feelings whilst occasionally asking questions. The game itself is split between either guessing what the red highlighted word means, or typing in what the red word means with some picture assistance. Correctly guessing the term places it into a permanent dictionary that players can access at any time, and will highlight those words in pink in all future interactions. Some conversations may lead to questions that are yes/no answer only, acting as a comprehension test for parsing words. Regardless of choice, that person will remember that decision.
I’ve seen the bundle gamify a lot of different things in order to educate people, but language isn’t one I was expecting to be tackled. Lingotopia gives players the tools they need to learn a new language by actively interacting with others and gaining a dictionary to reference already learned words. It gives vocals to supported languages to help understand pronunciation while also containing billboards that have the types of words used in that language specified (I chose German as a test). All of this is wrapped into a game about attempting to leave an island while learning a language to do so. I found myself having to quit after a while due to mild overload, but I feel that it’s almost a game to play daily to learn parts of a language more thoroughly. I don’t know if it will teach you a language completely, but it will definitely give a bedrock foundation for word association and understanding. If you’re looking to pick up a new language or just wish to play detective in a foreign country-like setting, Lingotopia is a fun title to teach the depths of language learning.
Link to both of them below!
Sanguine Sanctum is an atmospheric horror-exploration game with a low-poly, early 3D aesthetic. It is a short…